Tasting event held to show fish safe after oil spill

Kyodo, JIJI

To demonstrate that the fish pulled from Tokyo Bay are not contaminated by oil following a collision last month off the Miura Peninsula, a Chiba Prefecture fisheries association offered samples of their catches at a tasting event Wednesday.

A 12,630-ton Panamanian freighter sank after colliding with a 7,406-ton South Korean vessel about 6 km off the city of Miura in Kanagawa Prefecture early March 18.

The cargo ship was on its way to Kobe after leaving Yokohama, while the South Korean vessel was heading for Tokyo from South Korea.

The organizer of the tasting event — the Amaha Fisheries Cooperative Association based in the city of Futtsu — offered fish caught in local waters in the early hours of Wednesday, as test fishing operations resumed that day.

The area had been closed to fishing due to the oil spill caused by the collision. But a company was hired to clean up the waters where the fishermen operate.

Fish brokers and others in the fishing industry gathered at the fishing port, where they were treated to delicacies such as slices of raw porgy and horse mackerel served as freshly prepared sashimi. The fish had been caught and landed by eight fishing vessels early in the morning.

“The oil spill has not affected (the water and fish quality),” said Hideki Isogai who heads the fisheries association. “I’m glad that attendees enjoyed the taste (of the fish).”

According to the association, about 70 percent of the association’s members, around 150 gill-netters, stopped fishing on March 20. But now, they say, the water quality has improved since the oil was removed.

The fisheries association plans to resume regular operations Thursday, as soon as safety is confirmed.

The association will have monitoring ship check for any further slicks.